Last week, when Miles decided to test the sharpness of the scissors by poking them straight into my yoga ball, effectively shredding the thing, I took him with me to buy a new one.

“This costs $13.00. Do you know how many quarters that is?”

They are both into the quarters, thanks to the monstrous gumball machines poised at the entrance to every store we visit. Gumballs, and by extension quarters, are great motivators.

“How many quarters?”

“How many are in a dollar?”

“Four! 25, 50, 75, 1.00!”

“Four for one dollar. Thirteen dollars times four quarters. Let’s see. Ten times four is what?”


“Forty quarters in ten dollars. How many more dollars to thirteen?”


“What’s three times four?”

He counted on his fingers.


“So let’s add forty and twelve. That’s how many quarters this ball costs”

“Fifty-two quarters?! Do you have enough money?”

“This time I do, but I need you to respect other peoples’ things. If you break something it’s your responsibility, even if it was by accident.”

“I understand. I’d better save some more quarters.”

I’m sitting on the ball which we took turns pumping up two nights ago. It smells like goat cheese.

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